Longy School of Music of Bard College, founded as Longy School of Music in 1915 by renowned oboist Georges Longy, is a degree-granting Conservatory located in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school serves 250 undergraduate and graduate students from 37 states and 20 countries at our central Cambridge campus and recently opened Master of Arts in Teaching campus in Los Angeles, California. Longy's mission is to prepare musicians to make a difference in the world, and it is rapidly gaining international recognition for its efforts to meet a changing musical landscape head-on, giving its classically trained graduates the skills to perform, the ambition to teach, and the ability to reach new audiences and new communities beyond those traditionally associated with classical music.
How do you prepare musicians to make a difference in the world?
Ask them to be great. Provide them with the most rigorous education. Hold students of all ages to the highest standards of uncompromising excellence. Inspire them to be artists who can move hearts, enlighten minds, cross boundaries and bridge divides. Show them how exceptional musicians must also be exceptional human beings.
Then ask them to be leaders. Motivate them to walk not just the well-trod paths but to blaze new ones, forging opportunities for themselves and others as they go. Provoke them, as they’re learning and refining musical skills, to consider where those skills can take them.
Nurture collaboration, since great leaders must also be great listeners. Focus on chamber music where, in the absence of a conductor, students must assume the responsibility for finding their own voices.
Instill an entrepreneurial spirit and build critical thinking skills in students to match their musical abilities. Teach them how to start a slow movement one day, to launch a concert series the next and to perform in concert halls, clubs, and anywhere they can find a hungry audience.
Inspire students at every level to dream of how their music can transform their lives and the lives of others. Help them to articulate their dreams and then put them into practice. Create partnerships with businesses, schools and neighbors where students can test their ideas in the real world.
Create an environment for incubation—a place where great musicians and great ideas can be cultivated. Make it a diverse place where difference can broaden minds and enlarge perspectives. Keep it intimate, so individual attention is guaranteed. Prize collaboration and creativity as highly as musical prowess. Encourage every student to ask their peers — “How can I help you achieve your dreams?”
This is how the Longy School of Music of Bard College will prepare musicians to make a difference in the world: by establishing a new model for music education. An education that teaches students of all ages to be extraordinary musicians and human beings, while challenging them to find new ways to change the world through music.
This is our dream. This is our vision.